Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Hidden Beauty

It was quiet, upon quiet.  I ran softly, softly, carefully measuring the undulations of the landscape with a  sometimes faltering stride.  The cold was curling itself round my fingers and scouring the ball of each foot to a numbness.  I stopped measuring, my breath steadied and behold, a carpet of snowdrops.  Thousands upon thousands stretching into the dark depths of the quiescent wood.

Hidden Snowdrops, Cari-Jane Hakes, February 2013
A beautiful thing, carrying on being beautiful in secret, just for the sake of it.  Mostly unwatched, untended, untutored, unstructured.

A reminder of sorts of how to 'be'.  Being beautiful, gracious, kind and patient - even when no one is looking!  It's a tall order, but I'll give it a try.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Into The Wild - The Stag

I put off the piecing together of this prototype for some time. Here it is back in October.  I packed it up, unfinished, when I left France at the end of October and it is only now that I have managed to carve out the time to concentrate on it again.

Into The Wild - The Stag, Cari-Jane Hakes, February 2013
 And so here is my first attempt at incorporating the tones of a highland hillside covered in springy heather. I think the balance of this 'chain' will need some more work.  This is still the prototype, although I think the mix of copper and silver works. I'm not sure that I would make everything in silver in the final version.  A silvered stag would just disappear into the background.

I really feel that this piece, and this series, is the start of my work reaching a kind of steady stride.  Building and fabricating these tiny 'rooms', designing all the components to fit together - well, it feels like some kind of architecture.

Into The Wild, detail to back of main pendant housing, Cari-Jane Hakes, February 2013
There is a delicate balance of spatial expanse with myth, mystery and magical objects.  With this series I'm really trying to capture that fleeting moment of encounter when we see a little bit of 'The Wild'.  Many things are bound up with this - landscape, colour, sky, forests, wide heathered moors, steep rocky mountain sides, moss, burrows and that amazing moment when, for a second or so, the wild thing holds your gaze before leaping, running or bounding away from you (hopefully, NOT towards you!).

A herd of stags
Elsewhere, antlers are cropping up all over the place in the Hybrid Handmade Home.  How lovely is my new workshop apron brooch? A Harlequin Stag no less. It was made by the wonderful Becky Kemp (a fellow Etsyian) whose gorgeous shop can be found here.  I am actually wearing him out and about too.  It is definitely the kind of brooch which needs to go on adventures.

Finally, next to the Harlequin Stag, are the set of antlers that Dauvit Alexander (more on him here) sent through to see what I would do with them.  I have a plan for these, but more on that another day.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

New Work - fresh off the bench

This new piece has its origins in a piece I made whilst living in France (you can see it here).  The form is a simplification and abstraction of the oyster shells I used to find dotted all over the beaches.  There is something rather amazing about oysters, the way they take grit and sand, irritations and discomfort and transform them into pearls.  I am rather taken with this as a metaphor for life in general.  In summary, if it doesn't kill you, it makes you stronger!

Silver and Gold Oyster Necklace, Cari-Jane Hakes, February 2013
The 'oyster' in this piece is delicate and perfectly formed with just a smudge of gold to give it some extra polish.  It will be flying off directly to an Etsy customer in the USA very soon.

Meanwhile, the 'Into The Wild' series is continuing.  More on that tomorrow.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Monday Musings

When I pin things to my board on Pinterest I like to dig a little deeper; it may involve trying to find the exact geographical location of a place I've pinned, or the creator behind a particular product that I've earmarked on my Nesting board, or investigating who exactly said THAT phrase (after pasting a quotable quote on to this board?

This rather beautiful piece of work was picked up by The Simple Things magazine (which I subscribe to) on their Facebook page but there was no mention of the artist.  A simple quick Google search pulled up the work of Dana Tanamachi of Tanamachi Studio (although the origins of the quote could perhaps be attributed to 1Thessolonians Chapter 4 vv1-8) and the creator of this piece of chalk art.

You can see how Dana created a piece for one of her commercial clients below. Click here to see the video on Dana's own site.

Wonderful work and peaceful words to start the week.  Let's make it a good one.

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Happy weekending mes amis!  Inside, the hyacinths are perfuming the air and outside the snowdrops are resting their heavy heads.

Friday, February 15, 2013

What I caught in my 'net'

I have to look harder.  The landscape is familiar, although it is new.  It has the same tone and light of places I have been and places I have lived and so, I have to look harder for the small beauties.  If I don't stop to listen, if I don't stop and just stand for a little while I miss it all.

And these treasures I search for are tiny temporal things.  Here today, gone tomorrow.  I have to catch them while I can, net them in, gather them up and preserve them in light and pixel.  Perhaps later they will weave through my sketches and thoughts whilst at my workbench.

Today, I found patterns made from different qualities of line.  I bleached out the colour so I could just see the positive and negative.  I screw up my eyes so I can better appreciate where the dark and the light rest.

Elsewhere, the lichen caught my attention with its emerald green and extra terrestrial suckers.  Quite magnificent really.  So much so I had to glean small bits of it to bring home.

A big thanks to Pam over on Mercantile Muse.  She interviewed me recently for her new series - In Residence.  She asked me some great questions, she asked me some questions I had to think about for a while and she asked me some questions that got me thinking about things I haven't thought about in a long time.

Pam has created a great blog community over on here site - in particular - she is a great host and throws excellent 'parties'.  If you have a blog or online shop your invited to link up here.  Pam's parties are great for meeting other bloggers and artists.  I highly recommend them!

Happy weekending mes amis!  Here's hoping you find beauty in unexpected, overlooked familiar places.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Work in Progress

Below, a little insight into what goes on behind the scenes of a jeweller's workbench.

I have a new commission.  And before I even dare to cut into any precious metal I have to plan and plan and sketch and think and make models and think some more and email images and pictures and musings to the client and draw and think some more.

These things don't just pop out ready formed you know!

Emerald Pools, design development, sketches and models, Jan-Feb 2013, Cari-Jane Hakes
To investigate the theory of a tube set stone resting on a concave surface I had to test it out, properly, with metal.  Paper and card are quick and easy and are great for assessing form and scale but when it comes to the nuts and bolts of actually creating the piece I always have to explore the design in metal.

These test 'pools' were made with copper and brass (although the little spheres are actually silver).  Sometimes I just need to see the potential beauty of the piece rendered in solid metal.  I need to go through the motions of cutting, forming, soldering and polishing to really see the design.

testing, testing, 1, 2, 3
Elsewhere, this haiku stopped me in my tracks.  Goodness, how beautiful is that?  It makes me wonder anew at the power of words and their ability to conjure and weave a whole landscape of images within our minds eye.

You can find out more about this artist by clicking here.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Longitude and Latitude

It is a rather fascinating thing is it not?  That the earth is segmented and partitioned and divided by lines going this way and that.  The lines of latitude are simple, logical and can only be where they are by virtue of geometrical purity.  But where to start numbering those lines of longitude?

There were many and varied reasons behind the selection of Greenwich, London as the meridian in 1884 (even though France and Brazil had other ideas) and I wonder how this decision shapes our perception of the world today.

These are the things that I ponder whilst I create, especially when I am commissioned to produce a piece that incorporates these rather abstract numbers into a precious silvered artefact.

I 'made' this silver.  Melted and melded it together.  Putting it through my rolling mill numerous times to give it a smooth workable surface.  The resulting silver has a massive landscape type feel to it.  I left one side edge un-squared,  in its natural frozen state.  The co-ordinates both relate to coastal locations and so the numbers are perhaps tethered and defined by this silvered coastline.

Places have meaning.  They anchor our existence, they measure out our progress and serve as a legend for our past perambulations.

To the recipient - Bon Voyage Sir!  May they accompany you on many further adventures!

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